Two new termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) feeding indexes for woods of varing palatability
In order for bait matrices, treated wood and resistant wood species to be properly evaluated in the laboratory for termite resistance or palatability, reliable tests that can distinguish between food choices must be developed; otherwise, inferior products may enter the marketplace. In the current study, a bioassay method is proposed that allows the calculation of two new feeding indexes, a Wood Resistance Index (WRI) and a Termite Preference Index (TPI). These indexes incorporate the feeding behavior of termites in both choice and no-choice situations. In tests using Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar), the WRI consistently provided statistically significant comparisons between three wood species: pine, water oak and red cedar. The TPI and WRI, though not without limitations, convey more information than other common measures of feeding.